Warren Street smells of "sooty milk" while Lambeth North conjures "extreme mouse", according to our new chart of tube station aromas.
Ever noticed how certain tube stations have a bit of a pong about them? Bakerloo stations always have a mousey aroma. Jubilee extension stops are more metallic of odour than older stations on the line. One often encounters the whiff of potato, as though Transport for London has secret subterranean spud farms dotted throughout their network.
We thought it was high time someone got out there and attempted to map the olfactory landscape. The graphic above shows our discoveries at 62 central London tube stations. It should go without saying that all of this is highly subjective, but we'd like to think that everyone will find a few of these descriptions familiar.
Three years in the making
We began this ridiculous task back in 2019. Little did we know that revealing one's respiratory holes in a tube station would soon become illegal. Only in late 2022, with the coronavirus risk much reduced, have we returned to our olfactory investigations.
Notes for pedants
You probably have a few questions by now. Here are some answers.
But... but... surely the smell will vary depending where in a station you stand? Absolutely. Don't care. It's a piece of fun and not a scientifically rigorous study.
Some of the stations smell like food because it's wafting in from a cafe upstairs. Isn't that cheating? No. There are no rules.
I don't like the way you've shown Paddington as two separate stations! Sucks to be you.
You have too much time on your hands, don't you? No. Too busy sniffing tube stations.
Got your own thoughts on tube station smells? Leave a comment below, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.